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examples of presidents who solved big problems by finding common ground with the other side. ronald reagan did it with a democratic-led house after a far more resounding second-term victory than president obama's, as did bill clinton, with a republican-controlled house and a republican-controlled senate after a more resounding second-term victory than president obama. both examples -- both of them -- illustrate the rare opportunity that divided government presents. president obama can follow suit or he can take the extremist view that both reagan and clinton rejected, by thumbing his nose at the other side and insisting that if republicans aren't willing to do things his way, he won't do anything at all. now, if the president's serious, he'll follow the leads of president reagan and clinton. if he's really serious, he'll put the campaign rhetoric aside, propose a realistic solution that can pass a republican-controlled house and a divided senate, and work to get it done. and if the president acts in this spirit, i have no doubt he'll have the support of his own party and a willing partner
and do something good, something really good for the country. ronald reagan understood this. bill clinton understood this. and president obama seemed to understand it too in december of 2010. so i'll say it again. the only way we succeed is if the president steps up and leaders. it starts by showing that he's serious about success. and let's be clear, an opening bid of $1.6 trillion in new taxes just isn't serious. it's more than simpson-bowles or any other bipartisan commission has called for. it's been unanimously rejected in the house and senate. it's twice as much as the white house seemed ready to agree to during last summer's debt ceiling talks. and looked at in the context of the spending cuts yet to be enacted from the president's other proposals, it amounts to about 20 cents in cuts for every new dollar in tax hikes. in other words, no cuts at all. it's a joke. a joke. look, people i talk to across kentucky, they don't want any more political fights. th*e'd like to -- they'd like to see us get somewhere. they want the two parties to work together to find a solution to our fiscal
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